WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: cost of lawsuit?


From: Amanda J. Rush
Date: May 23, 2019 2:13PM

Re: cost of settlement: While doing client work, I've encountered
settlement costs between 4K and 20K, for a single demand. This is before
suit has been filed in the applicable jurisdiction. I'm not a lawyer,
and I don't play one on TV, but since ADA lawsuits are civil in nature
and not criminal in nature, the Fifth Ammendment does not apply. I can
tell you that everyone I've worked with who dealt with a demand letter
scenario was either (quite literally) horrified that their site was
inaccessible and took immediate steps to begin remedying the issues, or
at the very least was completely willing to start remediating issues.
I'm going to stop here because if I don't I'm going to start ranting on
how absolutely unproductive demand letters are and how the people
sending said letters or getting involved with the shady lawyers don't
realize the problems they're creating, and in most cases, (at least with
the people receiving the pay-offs, and there are a lot of blind people
in this category), the damage they're doing to the cause of equal access
for all.


On 5/22/2019 3:01 PM, Birkir R. Gunnarsson wrote:
> Most accessibility litigation claims include defendant commitment to
> fixing their site. I don't know of any letters that ask for a
> statutory damage without requirements to fix.
> I've heard the damage fees are relatively low, probably in the 10 to
> 20K area (Check
> Seyforth's ADA title III articles, I think there are some numbers in
> there about average cost of a settlement). This would not include cost
> of a defense lawyer.
> You'll probably pay in the hourly rate range of $300 to $600 for a
> defense lawyer.
> Your settlement will likely include protection from further lawsuits
> from the particular plaintiff, but that protection does not extend to
> anybody else, double jeopardy does not apply.
> Sadly, having good accessibility is no longer sufficient protection
> against the vast majority of lawsuits.
> I believe not a single lawsuit has been dismissed on the grounds that
> the website is accessible and the plaintiff is simply wrong. Unless
> the government steps in somebody with a well-established accessibility
> program/website may have to fight back on those grounds, else
> accessibility litigation will provide easy money to any person with
> disability and their lawyer buddies for years to come, all the while
> doing great damage to the underlying cause, equal access for people
> with disabilities.
> On 5/22/19, Jonathan Avila < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
>> The 4k amount you often hear of is in relation to statutory damages that
>> some states allows when suits are filed against the ADA and state laws for
>> accessibility such as the Unruh Act in California. Most settlements for
>> folks who just want a payout are in the range of what Jared mentioned
>> although sometimes slightly higher.
>> Regarding being sued again -- it's very common and unless the case was
>> settled as a class action or there is an agreement with the DOJ or something
>> similar. Otherwise the future plaintiffs were not involved in the original
>> settlement and thus often have legal right to litigate as well. Class
>> actions in this area are appearing more commonly but may be hard to get
>> certified as a class -- but if they do the risk could be higher to
>> defendants. ADA suits at civil suits filed in Federal courts and thus
>> double jeopardy is not relevant. I'm not a lawyer though and this isn't
>> legal advice.
>> Jonathan
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of glen
>> walker
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:41 PM
>> To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
>> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] cost of lawsuit?
>> CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do not
>> click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the
>> content is safe.
>> We're all in the same boat with regards to this being shortsighted and a
>> missed opportunity. I was mainly curious from the monetary standpoint.
>> I've seen demand letters for $4k so that seems to be in the range you've
>> seen, Jared. I'm sure the lawyers have done their homework and set the
>> demand amount in the "sweet spot" where it's less hassle to just pay rather
>> than to fight the suit.
>> I hate these driveby lawsuits. It gives a11y a bad rap.
>> I'm curious why double jeopardy (5th Amendment - so a US based law) doesn't
>> apply. Is it because an ADA lawsuit isn't claiming the defendant is
>> committing a "crime"? The 5th Amendment pertains to being tried of a
>> crime.
>> >> >> http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
>> >> >> >> >> >>